Without the proper estate plan in place the only option you have to make sure a loved one is protected is to make an application for guardianship.
A Guardianship is a legally structured and court supervised method by which one person has authority to act on behalf of another.
Although a Guardianship can be costly and is used only as a last resort, there are instances when a Guardianship offers the best and only protection for those that are faced with the following scenarios.
1. A parent suffering from Alzheimers or Dementia is coerced by another to put them “in charge” over their money. By the time someone becomes aware of what is going on, it is too late. The parent is often left with very little money. It is in these situations that a Guardianship becomes necessary to ensure the protection of the parent and to ensure all decisions made are truly in the best interest of the parent.
2. When the elderly are exploited by a family member, a caretaker or even a stranger then a Guardianship may become necessary. As a person gets older they become more vulnerable and more trusting, and the risk of exploitation increases greatly. It is in these situations that a Guardianship can make sure the elderly are protected. A Guardianship allows a Judge to supervise all spending as well as medical decisions to make sure the person is cared for and their needs are met.
3. When a child, spouse, parent or sibling is refusing necessary medical treatment for himself or herself, it is through a Guardianship that a Judge determines the necessity of a medical treatment and whether it is in the best interest of that child, spouse, parent or sibling.
4. A Guardianship may be necessary if a child, spouse, parent or sibling is refusing to take their psychoactive medication. When dealing with the mental illness process, there are certain rights that a Guardianship gives a family member that they otherwise would not have. For instance, a Guardian has the authority to transport a mentally ill person to a psychiatric hospital without having to call 911 or without having the affected person picked up on a mental illness warrant. A Guardian has the authority to receive all medical information and communicate with Doctors and case workers without the consent of the mentally ill patient. The Guardian has the authority to consent to the administration of psychoactive medication.
5. When a child inherits money or property. In the State of Texas, a minor is not allowed to own property. When this occurs, usually through inheritance, a Guardianship is necessary. It is the Guardian that controls the property and, under the supervision of a Probate Judge, makes sure that the property is used for the best interest of the minor.
Although this vehicle is used as a last resort and when there is no lesser restrictive alternative, there are instances when a Guardianship is not only necessary but is truly in the best interest of the individual. If you think your loved one may need a Guardianship contact our office for a free consultation at 214.559.7202.